SPENCER — The group that represents Owen Valley's volunteer firefighters issued a statement Friday night slamming a proposed contract and saying it has lost confidence in the Owen Valley Fire Department's leadership.
On Thursday, Lt. Joe Frye told RTV6 the Owen Valley Fire Department will lose about 20 volunteer firefighters at the end of the year because the Owen Valley Volunteer Firefighter Incorporated Group could not reach a contract agreement with the Owen Valley Fire Territory Board.
"Our meeting last night was just for the firefighters," Lt. Frye said Friday. "We met to go over our final business and schedule removing our belongings from the station. We have had zero communication with the territory board. The territory meets at 6 p.m. Jan 13. It seems a lot of the public will be there. At this point they have directed all questions to their lawyer."
In a statement posted to its Facebook page Friday night, the Owen Valley Volunteer Firefighter Incorporated Group said its issues with the contract include the fact that the group will have no say on any line officers, which would be appointed by the chief, and that firefighters can be assigned extra duties at any time without compensation and they are subject to being fired without a hearing or due process if they refuse.
The group also wrote there are no job descriptions pertaining to any spot at the fire department and there is no pay structure or amount in the contract, which they said was promised.
"We have no faith in any future hiring process simply because the hiring process for the chief was unprofessional and not fair to all applicants," the statement said. "We have lost confidence in all aspects of leadership from the chief to the territory board. If we sign that contract it is very apparent we as a group have no voice."
The group said it is in support and encourages the growth of a paid fire department and it will continue attempts to negotiate, but its firefighters "no longer feel welcome in our own department."
Read the complete statement below: